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Chevy Volt Owners Want More, Will General Motors Deliver?

The next Chevy Volt will be even better.
The next Chevy Volt will be even better.

The Chevy Volt, in the right hands, is a pretty impressive hybrid vehicle, but could future versions deliver even more?

One of my Tweeps runs a Chevy Volt, and I love seeing his fuel economy numbers, near 10,000 miles per tank of gas, nearly 95% of his miles in EV mode, generally a great guy, too! The question is, could the Chevy Volt be even better? While I ask @AmazingChevVolt what he thinks, General Motors has been asking Chevy Volt owners what they think the new Volt should deliver. The 2014 Chevy Volt currently starts at $34,995 and, after incentives and considering fuel economy, is a remarkably inexpensive car to own. Chevy Volt fuel economy, such as that of my Tweep, is over 80 mpge, which is double that of the best conventional vehicle available, the Honda CR-Z. Additionally, it holds four passengers, unlike the CR-Z.

According to Chevy Volt owners, a few things would make the car even better. First would be to add a fifth seating position, which might present some difficulties with the oversized “transmission hump” occupied by the “T”-shaped hybrid battery pack. On top of this, Volt owners crave even more EV range, which would mean battery pack expansion or some other efficiency refinements. A complete redesign would be needed for that, and I’m not sure if General Motors is considering such a change. Finally, of course, who wouldn’t want to see a better starting price?

The 2016 Chevy Volt still hasn’t been finalized in specifications, but General Motors has laid out plans for better EV range and pricing. Local battery production and mass-production could knock up to $10,000 off the price by 2016 and still be profitable, and a smaller i3 engine could be adopted to improve charge-mode fuel economy. Again, no final word from General Motors on Chevy Volt 2.0, but we expect it soon.

Photo credit: Wired Photostream

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  1. I’m surprised at @AmazingChevVolt’s 80 mpge. I average 4 miles per kilowatt and pay 11.06 per Kilowatt. At today’s gas price of $3.60 that equates to just over 130 mpge. I haven’t been to a gas station in 4 months, running 100% on electricity during that time.
    In the next Volt I would also like to see more range, but the one thing I believe will get the most attention is if they can meet or exceed the mpg in the Prius when running in generator/hold/gas mode. If you drive 100+ miles per day on a regular basis, the best economic choice right now is the Prius. If the next model Volt can get 55+ mpg versus the current 38 mpg, it eliminates the Prius as ever being a better option and would sell more cars.

    Most consumers seem confused about mpge and what it could mean for them. My commute is 35 miles round trip and I am able to run on electricity 100% of the time for my commute. The only time I need the generator is when I have to go somewhere outside of my regular commute and don’t have time to charge.More mpg in generator mode would not make a big difference to me, but would allow GM to compete with the popular Prius.

  2. beepee The “more range” part, you’ll note I mentioned “more EV range,” so a bigger fuel tank doesn’t make any difference in that department, although I do wonder if future EREV makers might consider multifuel, flexfuel, or diesel generators.
    Like many Chevy Volt owners, however, this one uses the EV side almost exclusively. GIven that 22.4% of Michigan’s power grid is non-combustion, his emissions are far lower than any pure hybrid driver, using what he has available. A recent study I reported on said that over 40 million households could switch to EVs without any changes, that is, they already live in EV-friendly circumstances.
    The expansion of biodiesel and synthetic fuels will definitely have a positive impact on emissions but, just like your wish to plug in to the complex “made their heads explode,” what do you think the thought of biodiesel and synthetic fuels is doing to the oil companies? *BOOM*

  3. Bravo for
    @AmazingChevVolt, but the Driving Range (and thereby fuel economy) could be
    improved simply by increasing the gasoline tank capacity.  Of course we’ll assume that the existing gas
    tank, by design, is well placed and can’t be increased.
    But, “a
    smaller i3 engine could be adopted” simply means that only me and “Nostradamus” can see (or admit) the superiority of the Diesel as an
    engine or as a generator because it defies the Energy Model based on “heat” –
    that’s the key, heat.
    The price is never an issue. .. . . it’s “whatever
    the market will bare”.  Lowering the
    price would render them incapable of keeping up with demand.  So the BIGGER questions is:  Should I buy two Chevy Volts, or one Cadillac
    XLR?  Visit the dealerships and you’ll
    find virtually no “base” models of either – which translates to +$40k and +$80k
    MSRPs respectively.
    The last issue is the “plug-in” feature.  “I’m not a poor person, but I play on TV”
    (remember that commercial?).  Point is, s
    plug-in isn’t apartment or condo friendly, while non plug-in hybrids are
    restricted only by their price.  The
    price of the Tesla, XLR and even the Volt seem to be folly for people of “means”
    that appreciate the exclusivity over the fuel economy.  Remember, I live in a condo by choice, and
    therefore my decision to purchase the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid was based on the price
    (base $35k), plus the fact that I couldn’t find a consenting virgin to drop
    into the nearest volcano in order to satisfy my condo committee – the plug-in
    concept almost made their heads explode.


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